Islam and the Outer Limits of Ecumenism

john_paul_ii_kisses_koran

The 1964 Vatican II Decree on Ecumenism, Unitatis redintegratio, was quite clear: The newly launched ecumenical movement had as its sole goal, the reunification of Christians.  The appeals for reunification would be directed to baptized Christians, “those who invoke the Triune God, and confess Jesus as Lord and Savior, doing this not merely as individuals but as corporate bodies.” The prime interest would be in uniting with those Christian communities that possess the Apostolic Succession and preserve all seven sacraments, such as the Orthodox churches; and also other Christian bodies, such as the Church of England, whose liturgies and other usages are similar to Roman Catholic practices.

Other Vatican II documents, however, envisioned extending the outreach (not strictly ecumenical dialogue, but “interfaith dialogue”) to non-Christian religions. Lumen Gentium (1964) strikingly affirmed that “the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Moslems: these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day”; and Nostra aetate (1965), urging “mutual understanding,” emphasized that “The Church has also a high regard for the Muslims. They worship  God, who is one, living and subsistent, merciful and almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth, who has also spoken to men. They strive to submit themselves without reserve to the hidden decrees of  God, just as Abraham submitted himself to God’s plan, to whose faith Muslims eagerly link their own.”

The wording of the statement that God’s “plan of salvation” also includes Muslims, who worship the same God and “hold the faith of Abraham” seemed to “push the envelope”—as if we Christians shared a common religious heritage with Islam as well as Judaism.

The “interfaith dialogue” guidelines from the Council were followed up with further initiatives—for example, The Vatican Secretariat’s Guidelines for a Dialogue between Muslims and Christians (1969); Orientations pour un dialogue entre Chretiens et Musulmans (1981), under the auspices of the Vatican Secretariat; and Christian-Muslim Relations: An Introduction for Christians in the United States of America (2003), published by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Keynoting a new quasi-ecumenical approach to Islam, Pope Paul VI in his 1969 visit to Uganda, along with mention of Catholic and Anglican martyrs, also paid homage to Muslim martyrs for “refusing to transgress the precepts of their religion.” He seemed to be referring to Bábís (who latter became Bahais) executed in Persia (Iran) during the 19th century. He spoke of “Our high respect for the faith you profess, and Our hope that what we hold in common may serve to unite Christians and Moslems ever more closely.”

In the same spirit, Pope John Paul II in 1986 convoked the World Day of Prayer for Peace in Assisi, attended by non-Christian religions as well as non-Catholic churches. In 1999 a photo of the Pope kissing the Koran presented to him by an Islamic delegation—like the 2009 photo of President Barak Obama bowing to the Saudi King—“went viral” on YouTube.

In our archdiocese in 2007, the Council for Islamic-American Relations (CAIR), offered presentations on Islam. Our parish scheduled four 90-minute presentations.  I met with our pastor with my objections, and also wrote to the then-Archbishop Dolan about CAIR’s terrorist connections, but to no avail. I attended the first two of the presentations, which extolled the beauty of Islam at great length, with only a few minutes left for questions or comments.

Robert Spencer in Not Peace but the Sword: the Great Chasm between Christianity and Islam casts doubt on such efforts of rapprochement with Muslims. Islam is an “Abrahamic” religion only in the sense that Muslims claim that Abraham’s sacrifice in Genesis 22 was of Ishmael, their ancestor, not Isaac. The God of Islam is not a Father, certainly not love, but rather the master of the universe, in which all human beings are his slaves. Some non-believers (as well as the mysterious spirit beings known as jinn) are actually created for hell. The commandment to “love your neighbor as yourself” appears nowhere in Islam. Jesus was not the Son of God, was not crucified, and did not arise from the dead.  Rather, he preached the coming of Mohammed—a fact that does not appear in the now corrupted versions of the New Testament.  Jesus will return at the end of the world to break all crosses, kill all pigs (food eaten by Christians), destroy Christianity, and Islamize the world.  Mary was the daughter of Imran, the father of Moses and Aaron, and thus the sister of Aaron. The New Testament has been defiled. All the references of Jesus in the Gospels to the coming of Muhammad have been removed. Christians are the “vilest of creatures” (Qur’an 98:6), and can escape the death mandated for unbelievers only if they pay a special poll tax (juzya) in Muslim countries.

It is often claimed that we can at least join in concert with Muslims on moral issues. But, according to Spencer, this is problematic.  Islamic morality allows for practices that Catholicism abhors, including contraception, female genital mutilation, and even sexual slavery of non-believing women. Abortion is permitted in the first trimester. Child marriage is rampant in Islamic jurisdictions.  Polygamy is permitted, along with easy divorce of wives by men and “temporary” marriage laws. Sharia Law, Spencer adds, makes the chasm between Christianity and Islam almost completely unbridgeable: “Sharia Law calls for, among other things: the dehumanization of women; the flogging/stoning/killing of adulterers; and the killing of homosexuals, apostates and critics of Islam. All of this is part of orthodox Islam, not some ‘extremist’ form of it.”

In a book I published during the 1980s, Ethics in Context, I included a section on the Golden Rule, which began with a listing of various versions of the Golden Rule in major religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism.  I was unable to find anything like the Golden Rule in Islam. There was nothing of the sort in the Qur’an. The closest approximation was in one of the Hadiths, saying “None of you believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.” But this instruction only applies to fellow Muslims, as we discover from verses 9:23 and 48:29 in the Qur’an, which prohibit friendship with, and compassion for, unbelievers.  Spencer notes the very restricted application of the Ten Commandments also: “ ‘Thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal,’ and so on and so on. Islam does uphold those things, but for Muslims only.”

Aside from tolerance and normal respect and communication with Muslims, it remains questionable whether systematic and structured “dialogues”—to come to an agreement on religious doctrines or moral values—are of any benefit whatsoever. Our main hope in addressing the Christian-Muslim “chasm” is an emphasis on natural law and natural rights, which, being written on the hearts of all men, can be activated even in the midst of religious pressures and interdictions.

Howard Kainz

By

Howard Kainz is professor emeritus at Marquette University. He is the author of several books, including Natural Law: an Introduction and Reexamination (2004), The Philosophy of Human Nature (2008), and The Existence of God and the Faith-Instinct (2010). Professor Kainz is a regular contributor to Crisis Magazine.

  • Jambe d’Argent

    Just in order to be academically objective, Dr. Kainz, perhaps quotes from Robert Spencer should be balanced by quotes from Dr. Peter Kreeft? I do not try to defend the obvious shortcomings of Islam but the truth about it is much more nuanced than what Spencer – an obvious propagandist – would have us believe.

    • poetcomic1 .

      Robert Spencer is EXQUISITELY nuanced and speaks with great care. Mr. Spencer, an Eastern Rite Catholic is bombarded every minute of very day with death threats and unspeakably obscene vituperation. Every time he appears in public at any pre-arranged location he is LITERALLY risking his life to speak. He could be murdered at any moment and frankly, I don’t know how he could stand it. Peter Kreeft believes in some fellowship with ‘deeply religious Muslims’ of a religion that is without love, preaches murder of non-believers and is a rank heresy of the Christian religion, in fact a truly Satanic inversion. That having been said, Muslims make the best Christians and it our VERY difficult duty to make that happen is it not?

      • Adam__Baum

        This is interesting. Argent describes Spencer as an “obvious propangandist”. By what standard and what measures?

        • patricia m.

          By CAIR standards…

          • Jambe d’Argent

            A very intelligent comment indeed.

        • Jambe d’Argent

          By commonsense standards. You should watch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMtqCapeVRA .

          • Adam__Baum

            In other words, somebody that disagrees with you.

      • Jambe d’Argent

        “Robert Spencer is EXQUISITELY nuanced and speaks with great care”

        No, he isn’t and he doesn’t. Watch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMtqCapeVRA .

        • Adam__Baum

          Your opinion isn’t fact.

    • cestusdei

      Is it propaganda to point out that in every Muslim country Christians are persecuted?

      • Jambe d’Argent

        No, it’s not. At the same time, however, it is only honest to point out that the persecution of Christians is an abuse of Islamic principles in regard to the treatment of the People of the Book. However, I know that I am talking mostly to close-minded people and am not going to waste my time.

        • patricia m.

          Well, it happens then that the so-called Islamic principles are abused every single day, in every single Muslim majority country. Is that a coincidence, or does Islam then attract the most radical individuals that constantly abuse other people’s rights, faith and dignity?

        • Adam__Baum

          Funny thing about Islam, it’s like communism. Adherents constantly assure us that it’s designs for humanity are benign, but practice almost universally results in something else.

          • cestusdei

            I remember that from my younger days.

        • cestusdei

          No, it is not. Muhammad persecuted Christians and Jews. It is integral to Islam. They have always done it and still do. You are close minded and willfully blind.

        • tedseeber

          I find the “People of the Book” to be quite the insult to Catholics, especially after our own struggles with prooftexters ripping the book apart to deny tradition.

  • Pedro Erik

    Excellent article, Howard Kainz. Terrible picture of JPII.

    Allow me to say that I just wrote a paper and presented in two conferences in Europe (Law and Religion Scholars Network Conference (Cardiff University) and Impact of Religion Conference (Upsala University)). I discuss the (not found) idea of loving the enemy in Islam.

    In my research, I learned that Islam does not follow natural law, positivism or rationalism. Only divine command. So, I do not share your hope in the last paragraph.

    It will be great to give you my paper to you take a look.

    If you are interested, please write to my email.

    Best regards,
    Pedro

    • Howard Kainz

      I agree that there is no place in Islam for natural law; but individual Muslims can and have bucked the cultist trends surrounding them.

    • Adam__Baum

      “Terrible picture of JPII.”

      Are you upset with the choice of the photograph or the actions of the subject?

  • Dick Prudlo

    I am delighted that something other than great basketball can come out of Marquette. This is a very insightful article that needs to be read by some of our “Catholic” institutions and the prelates than continue the ecumenical farce with eyes closed and their ignorance showing.

  • Alecto

    In addition to concerns about ecumenism, I am deeply troubled by muslim mass immigration to the West. Given the deep roots of Christianity here, I do not understand why Western governments not only promote, but force on native populations which are overwhelmingly peaceful Christians, the deeply flawed belief that Islam is somehow beneficial, complimentary or compatible with western civilization? It simply isn’t and it’s time to acknowledge the experiment has failed.

    Clearly there are limits of tolerance and we’re seeing that in London today. Prayers with the murdered victim of the religion of blood.

    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

      In Europe, many Muslims, and especially Muslim women, are manifesting their confidence in democracy and proclaiming their adherence to its values.

      The president of the Muslim women’s movement Ni Putes Ni Soumises [Neither Sluts nor Door-mats] Sihen Habchi, in a forceful attack on “multiculturalism” has demanded “No more justifications of our oppression in the name of the right to be different and of respect toward those who force us to bow our heads”

      Rachida Dati, herself a Muslim and former French Minister of Justice (garde des Sceaux) told the National Assembly that “The Republic is alone capable of uniting men and women of different origins, colours and religions around the principles of tolerance, liberty, solidarity and laïcité making the Republic truly one and indivisible” Likewise, Fadela Amara, another Muslim and former Secretary of State for Urban Policies has declared that “For this generation, the crucial issues are laïcité, gender equality and gender desegregation, based upon living together in harmony throughout the world, and not only in France”

      Leïla Babès, a professor at Lille University is well known for her writings on the compatibility of Islam and laïcité, notably « Loi d’Allah, loi des hommes. Liberté, égalité, et femmes en islam » [Law of God, Law of Men. Freedom, Equality and Women in Islam]

      • Pedro Erik

        The problem are not the persons, we can have excellent people that said that they are Muslims, as we can have terrible people who said that they are Catholics (see Nancy Pelosi).The question is what is written in the Quran and what is written in the Bible. If many follow the Quran what do we get? Saudi Arabia.

      • Alecto

        I have no doubt that is all true, but outliers protesting their treatment under their chosen religion isn’t the same as protecting the religious and cultural foundations of society. I perceive muslims as a threat to everything I cherish and to my very existence. They teach that it is acceptable to lie, to cheat and to kill non-muslims (and there is ample evidence more and more muslims are following that command). Why would I believe anything they say or do? I compare muslims to communists. They both believe the ends justify the means. They aren’t even protesting a brutal, bloody killing or any killings anywhere? Law of God, Law of Men, Freedom, Equality and Women in Islam? Nonsequiturs!

        You want to know where France will be in 25 years? Where Lebanon is now, another historically Catholic country duped by muslim occupants into complacency with lies. Ask Maronites in Lebanon how well muslims have treated them. Ask them about the l’espace prive practiced by Hezbollah.

        I fear a loss of French Catholic tradition, the glorious, the beautiful and important profound Catholic history that created, then shaped France. I grieve that loss deeply. Martin of Tours fought to drive muslims from France, now the barbarians infuse and confuse that society.

        • Michael Paterson-Seymour

          Rachida Dati cannot possibly be described as “an outlier.”

          As Minister of Justice, she articulated the opinion of many educated Muslims, especially women, over « l’affaire du foulard » – the headscarf business.

          “If laïcité is reduced to religious freedom (or tolerance), wearing religious signs in state schools is obviously possible, as many Muslims consider it to be. But this is an error. On the one hand, the laïcité of state schools is not restricted, in the case of pupils, to respect for their freedom of conscience: it essentially consists in excluding religion from state schools and it therefore imposes a duty of restraint on pupils in their behaviour, since they find themselves in a place pertaining to the public sphere. On the other hand, pupils’ freedom of conscience, which is an internal freedom, in no way gives them ‘the right to express and manifest their religious beliefs’ in educational institutions, for that involves external acts which improperly introduce religion into the public domain of the state.”

          I do not know many Catholics, who could have expressed it better.

          • Alecto

            By Islamic standards, at least prevailing Islamic standards, she most definitely is an outlier. But the problem with her suggestion is that the solution to muslim extremism is to eliminate religion from the public square, or sphere. That solution does not promote a whole society, a whole individual, who is simultaneously a citizen and a believer. It seems disingenuous to consider that a person is “allowed” to practice one’s religion, yet confine practice to private spheres?

            In the U.S., the marginalization of religion, and in particular Christianity, accomplished under the auspices of “church/state” separation is a perversion and misinterpretation of the Enlightenment ideal of “freedom of exercise” – a far broader right than “freedom of worship” or “freedom of religion”. Christianity diminishes so that Islam can flourish, but that does not buttress the American concept of religious liberty. Fortunately, or unfortunately, it also requires more tolerance which only appears to exist amongst Christians. Founders of the American republic most likely presumed that the “exercise” they contemplated would always be by denominationally-diverse Christians as the practice of Islam was not common or even known. Free exercise by muslims anywhere entails permitting activities which are antithetical to the survival of any free society, and therefore cannot truly be reconciled to a western free society. In short, Islam is not conducive to tolerance.

        • TruthWFree

          I agree with you. These people should be intelligent enough to know that their Islamic religion is the reason (root cause) for the hate and killing by fellow Muslims. They should leave their religion as the killers hold the trump card in Islam…that is what Muhammad (and allah) taught in the Quran. These people are complicit with the haters and killers by staying in the religion.

      • cestusdei

        Is this the same Europe where in Sweden there are riots? Where in Paris there were riots? Where Jews are beaten up and a priest was murdered last month?

        • Alecto

          I have seen stories about murdered Jews in France, but have read nothing about a murdered priest? Where? When?

          • cestusdei

            It was in Southern France.

    • Adam__Baum

      “I do not understand why Western governments not only promote, but force on native populations (which are overwhelmingly peaceful Christians), the deeply flawed belief that Islam is somehow beneficial, complimentary or compatible with western civilization?”
      Oh that’s easy. Anytime the ruling classes can introduce something that promotes division, they will. Divide et Impera.

    • tedseeber

      The number one reason for this is abortion and falling birth rates.

  • elizabeth

    Inviting comments from those who are acquainted with the work of Louis Massignon, the French Catholic scholar of Islam. Anyone familiar with his writings?

    • Jambe d’Argent

      I am, Also with the writings of Henry Corbin and I know what you mean. You need to keep in mind, however, that Sufism is treated with great suspicion by the “mainstream” varieties of Islam (Sunni, Shi’ite, Wahhabi, etc.)

    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

      Louis Massignon was himself profoundly influenced by Bl Charles de Foucauld.

      He was also greatly influenced by Abbé Henri Brémond, particularly his « Prière et Poésie » [Prayer and Poetry] and « Introduction a la Philosophie de la Prière » [Introduction to the Philosophy of Prayer], based on his unrivalled knowledge of mystical writings and devotional works. Brémond’s writings on poetry, symbolism and romanticism earned him election to the Académie française in 1923, in succession to Mgr. Duchesne and, on his death, a eulogy from the French Symbolist poet, Paul Valéry.

      Massignon found a close similarity between the Christian idea of God, “the Abyss which is unknown and has no name . . . more beloved than all that we can know,” (Tauler) or ” “We do not know what God is. God Himself does not know what He is because He is not anything. Literally God is not, because He transcends being.” (John Scotus Erigena) and the Muslim, “the unknowable and inaccessible ground of everything that exists. God alone is true Being, while all things dwell in non-existence, so also Being alone is undelimited , while everything else is constrained, confined, and constricted. Being is the absolute, infinite, undelimited reality of God, while all others remain relative, finite, and delimited” (Ibn Arabi)

  • Patrick Eoin Brogan

    Actually, the title of the document is Unitatis Redintegratio.

    • Howard Kainz

      Thanks. My spellcheck doesn’t handle Latin very well.

  • cestusdei

    Until Islam gives up its predilection for violence I see no real way forward. It is they who must change and give up the barbarity.

  • patricia m.

    I fear that in Europe the barbarians are literally at the gate. While I can understand that their governments attracted cheap labor from Muslim countries because they were their former colonies (like UK/Pakistan/Bangladesh, France/Morocco/Algeria, etc) or maybe because they were just cheap labor (Germany/Turkey), I cannot understand at all why the US government grants asylum to Somalis, Chechens, etc. Wasn’t it a Muslim Chechen that put bombs on the Boston marathon?

    Seriously, those asylum grants have to be revised. It should be the main point in the immigration reform. I prefer a thousand Catholic Mexicans here in the US, as opposed to one Chechen or Somali.

    • Adam__Baum

      The problem is we aren’t getting Catholic Mexicans, we’re getting secular Mexicans that overwhelmingly vote to empower statists, or worse.

      When the “chief law enforcement officer” of the land is meeting in the White House with illegal aliens, you know that the political forces are diluting and debasing your citizenship.

      The entire point of open immigration is a fusion of two different interests. First, the business community, especially the Fortune 500, and specific industries such as agriculture and hospitality, that have ossified business practices that require large amounts of cheap unskilled labor is looking toward the almighty buck. The political class wants to balkanize the citizenry, create more dependency and have less opposition from people who regard government as a servant, rather than a master.

  • Nicole Welde

    I believe that we, as Catholics, enjoy a rich heritage of faith given to us by Jesus. Jesus tells us to love one another. Therefore, I do not see what is to be gained by condemning Muslims for their faith. Their faith does not threaten my faith; Jesus said that the gates of Hell will not prevail over His Church. Why, then, is Crisis magazine giving in to knee-jerk bigotry? The hierarchy of the Church is not naïve; they are simply well-informed enough to know that spreading hatred and ignorance is contrary to everything that Jesus teaches us. I do not blame the entire faith of Islam for the actions of a few delusional individuals anymore than I would blame all of Christianity for the actions of the KKK or other extremist groups that claim to be Christian while murdering.

    • Bill Russell

      “A few delusional individuals?”

      1.
      Muslim Turkey has expelled approximately 1,500,000 Greeks from its empire in the
      east and replaced them with Turks. They have massacred approximately 2 million
      Armenians and replaced them with Turks in the west.

      2. Muslim Turkey has
      invaded and occupied northern Cyprus, displacing the Greeks living there.

      3.
      Muslim northern Sudan has conquered much of southern Sudan, literally enslaving
      its Christian and pagan population.

      4. Indonesian imperialism has occupied
      all of non-Islamic western New Guinea and incorporated into Indonesia.

      5.
      Muslim Indonesia has invaded and conquered Christian East Timor with horrible
      loss of life.

      6. This very day, Muslim Indonesia is attempting to destroy
      Christianity in what used to be called the Celebes.

      7. A half-dozen Arab
      countries have fought two to four wars (depending how you count) in an attempt
      to destroy Israel and occupy its territory, and is currently continuing the attempt
      this very day with the publicly voted consent of 55 of the world’s 57 Islamic
      nations.

      8. For no good reason, Muslim Libya has blown up western aircraft,
      killing many civilians.

      9. Muslim Iraq, in an imperialist war of aggression,
      invaded and occupied Muslim Kuwait.

      10. Muslim Iraq, in an imperialist
      act of aggression, invaded Muslim Iran with a resulting (some estimates say) death
      of 2 million people.

      11. Muslim Albania, this very minute, is attempting
      to enlarge its borders at Christian Macedonia’s expense.

      12. Muslim Northern
      Nigeria has been (and is currently) an aggressor against the Christian south. Dozens of churches destroyed in the past few moneths.

      13. Muslims expelled approximately 800,000 Jews from their homelands between
      1947 and 1955.

      14. During Jordan’s occupation of the West Bank, the kingdom
      undertook an unsuccessful attempt to make Jerusalem a Muslim city by forcing out
      approximately 10,000 Christian inhabitants.

    • musicacre

      You should read some history; it’s obvious you haven’t. That’s rich saying someone is condemning the Muslims when they are the ones that bring physical harm to Christians in every part of the world. My husband’s family left a Muslim country to come to Canada in the 60′s. Where they came from it is no longer possible to practice Catholicism, safely. You should read Tariq Fatah. He wrote of the entire history and how the religion was politicized from the time the first prophet died. Very sad. His life is in danger now, from speaking the truth.

    • poetcomic1 .

      . The Islamic faith teaches its followers TO KILL YOU. It is not a ‘distortion’ of the Quran it IS the Quarn. What about that is not getting through???

    • Bill Russell

      Nicole- Pollyanna-
      I await your reply.

    • Crisiseditor

      Just because a Muslim is (by definition) religious does not mean he is a friend of Christians or respects their rights or faith. Muslims have been persecuting Christians from the days of Mohammed onwards. The degree of persecution has varied from time and place but it never completely ends in countries that are majority Muslim. The Vatican has been trying to work with Muslim leaders to secure protections and freedoms for Christians in Muslim countries. This effort has had only mixed results. (There is not one Christian church in Saudi Arabia even though there are hundreds of thousands of Christians working there from other countries. Who did you say were the bigots?) Don’t misinterpret diplomatic niceties for what is really going on: Vatican attempts to persuade Muslim governments to protect Christians against the abuse and persecution of Muslims populations. You can start educating yourself by reading this report on the Muslim treatment of Christians in the Middle East: http://www.crisismagazine.com/2013/obama-ignores-the-fears-of-middle-eastern-christians

    • Adam__Baum

      “Their faith does not threaten my faith;”

      Think so, huh? Why don’t you strut down a street in Mecca, sans veil but holding a Cross and a Bible. Tell me how that goes.

      Of course, perhaps you should afford as much charity to concerned Christians as you do Muslims.

      It’s your kind, that will lead us into permanent Dhimmitude.

      • Alecto

        She does not need to go that far. Try Dearborn, Michigan. My sister was assaulted there by Muslims after she and my brother left a restaurant after dark because she did not cover herself. Muslims are not tolerant.

        • Adam__Baum

          My wife spent a part of her childhood (pre-K) in Dearborn, I’ve seen other accounts like that, and I’m still waiting for the “new castrati” to decry religious imperialism and Christophobia-waiting, not holding my breath.

    • Alecto

      Nicole, you obviously have a good heart, but I would suggest your attitude is incredibly naive. No one is condemning them for their faith, it is the actions inspired by their faith with which I have profound issues. Islam is not compatible intellectually or in practice with our civilization, and you are mistaken to believe that a dominant muslim culture will in any way protect or respect your beliefs. And the “few” delusionals are actually the majority of muslims, evidenced by surveys of the followers of this ideology. They want tolerance, but show none. I do not equate opposition to violent belief and practice with “hatred and bigotry”, which are the most over-used adjectives in the Western lexicon.

      • Alecto

        Meant to write “nouns”, not “adjectives”, no doubt the result of 4 hours sleep!

    • Tantumblogo

      It’s more than a few delusional individuals. This is a comment that betrays great, possibly willful, ignorance of both history and current events. Is it just a few delusional individuals that elected an islamist government with an overwhelming majority in Egypt, a government that is presently trying to persecute the Coptic Church out of existence? Is it a few individuals who have driven almost all Christians out of Iraq, and are presently murdering thousands as they do the same in Syria? Was it a few individuals that conducted the Intifada or who persecute Christians in Lebanon? Was it a few deluded individuals who forced Christians to convert at the point of the sword from Arabia all the way to the Pyrenees in the 8th Century?

      Violent jihad is endemic to Islam. It is woven into the fabric of their faith. Islam without jihad would collapse. And islam violently persecutes its own – especially women. Do you not care for that? Why is it that over 80% of women in Egypt have suffered the nightmare of genital mutilation? Why is it that wherever islam predominates, virtually every human liberty – and mark of progress or ingenuity – suffers, to the very point of collapse?

      These are not the actions of a few extremists. These are the actions of the mass of muslims around the world. I only named a handful of examples, such can, and do, fill volumes. Read about St. Raymond Nonnatus and St. Peter Nolasco and the work of the Mercedarians. The mass slavery that has always accompanied islam, and which continues today, has never been the work of a few extremists.

      There is none so blind as she who will not see.

  • Bill Russell

    Is there available a picture of Saint Pius V kissing the Koran?

    Holy Martyrs of Otranto pray for us.

  • AcceptingReality

    Very good article that begs for attention be paid to the need for a more informed public. Given some of the moral aspects of Islam mentioned, one wonders why progressive ideologues give the religion political cover. Do they not know that they will not be immune to the strictures of Sharia?

  • davepinoy

    islam by their very ethics of hatred, deception, sexual perversity, aggressive killing for domination, is never the adoration of the same monotheistic Christian God. FALSEHOOD AND THE INTIMIDATION TO CONVERT TO A PHLAGIARIZED ISLAM CAN NEVER BE COMPATIBLE WITH THE TRUTH OF LOVE AND GOODWILL FOR ALL, Islam is inherently evil by its very teachings and its constant change to cover up for its evil inspiration of using religion to hide the rantings of a sex maniac obsessed with power and wealth in its so called prophet muhammad….YOU WILL KNOW THEM BY THEIR FRUITS…ISLAM IS FROM SATAN WHO CONS THE WORLD OF AN APPARENT GOOD BUT INHERENTLY EVIL SCHEME OF TURNING MEN TO BE ONE OF ITS FALLEN ANGELS….

  • Bill Russell

    I see that Nicole Welde, having accused the author of this fine article of “knee-jerk bigotr,y” has not chosen to reply to her critics. It would be helpful to have her response. Facts do seem to overwhelm feelings.

    • Adam__Baum

      Obviously, she was anticipating monologue, not dialogue.

      • Howard Kainz

        Nicole Welde did clarify her position above, an hour ago.

  • Bill Russell

    May I repeat: Nicole Welde has accused Howard Kainz of “knee-jerk bigotry” for his essay in which he says that “Islamic morality allows for practices that Catholics abhor.” Just two days before that essay appeared, Muslims mutilated a British soldier in broad daylight in London. One of them spoke into a camera: “We are forced by the Koran, in Sura al-Tawba, through many ayah in the Koran, we must fight them as they fight us.” Al-Tawba, the ninth chapter of the Koran, enjoins use of the sword against non-believers, and by extension that would include the meat cleaver used in London. Now, Welde says of Muslims that “Their faith does not threaten my faith,” but the point of Mr. Kainz’s essay is that, if their faith does not threaten the Christian Faith, it does threaten the Christian faithful. That British soldier, Mr. Rigby, cannot articulate that point because his head was separated from his body in keeping with the injunctions of Sura al-Tawba. Although Mr. Rigby cannot speak, Welde can, and we are still waiting for her response. Qui tacit consentire videtur.

    • Tantumblogo

      Don’t hold your breath. And if a response were given, it would be more of the same, full of non sequiturs and special pleading.

  • MDK66

    No video went viral in 1999. YouTube didn’t exist. The World Wide Web was still in its infancy.

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  • TruthWFree

    Good article. The Quran lies about the Gospels as indicated above…that Jesus (Isa) never said he was the Son of God and that he did not die on the cross. Jesus said that Satan is the father of all lies in the Gospels written 700 years before the Quran. Islam is a lie. For the Pope to kiss what I consider the hand book of Satan is disgusting. Was Pope John Paul II that ignorant?…or was he cowtowing to Islam? The teachings of Islam (violence and hatred of unbelievers) are 180 degrees opposite Christ’s teachings in the Gospels (Love and forgiveness including love your enemies). As far as I am concerned, allah is Satan.

    Muhammad or allah/Satan had to downgrade Jesus to prophet status. He could not follow the Son of God and claim to be the final prophet. No question the work of Satan…the biggest lie in the history of the world perpetrated on mankind by Satan…Islam.
    I pray each day for Muslims to leave their evil hateful religion and come to Christ.

  • Jerome

    Much worry about Islam, it seems to me as someone who has formally study the subject is quite exaggerated. Islamism is a big problem, to be sure, for Christians in the Middle East. The more radically jihadist of the Islamists are certainly a danger more generally, but not nearly as much as Communism at its height. Anyway, the more they get loose in the Middle East, the more enemies this subset of the Islamists tends to make among other Muslims: case in point al-Qaeda in Iraq. Many statements, furthermore, made by Dr. Kainz, and some posters below are not duly qualified. Fairness requires looking at the issue with some balance. For instance, temporary marriage is accepted today only by Shi’ites, not Sunnis, and many kinds of Sharia know a kind of “back door’ for natural law, in the form of principles of defense of one’s own goods and life. It would be truer to say that Islam, after the passing of its philosophical phase in the medieval period, is not too interested in natural law, but does not necessarily deny it. What’s more, as the great pro-life leader at the U.N., Austin Ruse, put it once, if not for the opposition Muslim states, we would have an international right to abortion imposed on us all by now.

  • Kinana

    Mr Kainz, thank you for this essay. In one of your comments you mention that ‘individual Muslims can and have bucked the cultist trends surrounding them.’ I agree, but since its beginning the more devout followers of Islam have persecuted and killed any reformers of Islam. Just look at what life is like for the Ahmadiyya’s in Pakistan. The individual Muslim is no match for the umma and therefore we should not expect reforms of Islam itself.

  • guest

    Absolutly NO NO NO – How can it be the same God, when theirs does not have a son?? what goes on here?? I once many years ago was renting in the same place as a Muslim and we several times had dialogue and compared the Bible with the koran. She was shocked to learn that Moses was in the Bible, as well as in the koran, and I pointed out that the Biblical books were written many many centuries before the koran or islam existed. How can these Catholic leaders promote such things is beyond me. If this is what the Catholic church has become, and the hierarchy promoting these things, how can I really want to be a part of it? How can I trust the pope or anyone else. How can even God be a part of this? I have many question anymore about being Catholic.

  • guest

    Another thing, if one really believes in his/her faith, there is no room for acceptance of anti-Jesus, the Son of God thinking. Freedom of religion is one thing, and a very good thing as well, and needed so that we are all free to worship however. That, however, does not mean that we accept anything else, even partially, that is anti-Jesus. Muslims claim they believe Jesus existed, but that He is not the Son of God, just a man, a prophet. That is denying that Jesus is God. If we believe that Jesus is the Son of God, born of the virgin Mary, immortal, who died for our redemption and reconciliation with God, rose from the dead and ascended into heaven, the hope for our own immortality and the reality of being with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit for ever and ever. It is clear in Scripture that Jesus is the only way of Salvation. Jesus died for everyone, and loves everyone, but said that whosoever receives (not accepts) him, He gave the power to become the Sons of God. (non–exact quote), and since God had chosen the Israelites as His people, He wants them to receive Jesus as well, and yet they keep looking for their Messiah to this day. How can it be one way, and then all the exceptions?? ALL have sinned and come short of the Glory of God, and Jesus came to us so that we can be reconciled to God, is it that one day, He will just save all of us when He returns, no matter what?

    • Nicole Welde

      I did not claim that Muslims would respect or fail to respect my freedom of religion My concern is that in denying Muslims their freedom of religion, we are walking a slippery slope that ends with the ultimate loss of our freedom of religion. It is one thing to cite practices that one finds objectionable and historical examples of wrongs perpetrated, but one does not have to look far at all to find anti-Catholics doing the same thing to us.

    • Kinana

      Re ‘freedom of religion’ (ref to Guest and Nicole Welde) I think any society must protect itself from ‘religious’ teachings that require the domination and enslavement of those who do belong to that religion. Islam requires just that. (E.g. see Quran 9:29, among many other verses).

      Nicole Welde, you found the time to reply to Guest but not to the many commenters asking for clarification of your ‘knee-jerk bigotry’ phrase. I find that curious.

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  • Matthew Sullivan

    Great article, Dr. Kainz! Wish I had know you during my own attempted indoctrination at Marquette (1993 – 1998).

    Christopher Dawson, “Enquiries into Religion and Culture”, chapter “Islamic Mysticism”: “The fact is that once the possibility of a living communion of the human soul with God and its progressive transformation by divine grace according to the teaching of al-Hallaj was excluded as savouring of dualism and hulul (incarnation or infusion), the solutions of the extremists became the only logical ones. The transcendence and omnipotence of Allah, carried to their logical conclusions, involved the denial of any ultimate reality to creating being and to human experience. God was the Real (al-Haqq), all else was vanity and nothingness. God’s Will and Power were the only source of movement in the world. The apparent activity of man as a free moral personality was but an illusion which veiled the operation of the one real agent – the Will of God. And this view finds its speculative and dogmatic justification in the orthodox Asharite doctrine, which denies not only moral freedom, but even the principle of causality in the interests of divine transcendence. There are no necessary principles of relationship or succession in the order of things or the order of consciousness, only a juxtaposition of unintelligible states of being called into existence and destroyed by the arbitrary fiat of divine omnipotence.”

  • tedseeber

    Considering my own study of the schools of thought within Islam, yes, I’d say those who would enact Sharia Law are the extremists. They are on the tail end of a spectrum bell curve that runs from Six Pillar extremist individual terrorists to Five Pillar Modernist Sufis.

    Other than that- you are correct. I follow Lumen Gentium because the Church teaches it, but we’ve got to be *very* careful with this. Almost all Sunni and Shi’a would love to see the return of a Caliph, and with it, the duty of offensive collective jihad (the “sixth pillar” duty of every Islamic to join the army and fight for expansion of territory), that even in more moderate and peaceful times, used to be a once-a-year raid on Byzantine towns.

    And the more radical Muwahiddun that reject even Sharia Law- claiming that they are the slaves of God Alone and all of civilization, even Islamic civilization, is their enemy. We would do well to not even dialogue with them, except as John Paul II did- forgiving his assassin and converting him in a jail cell.

  • george

    Cool. I learned something new. I have an interesting scripture quote on the topic: 2
    cor 6:14-18 “Bear not the yoke with unbelievers. For what participation hath justice with injustice? Or what fellowship hath light with darkness? [15] And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath the faithful with the unbeliever? [16] And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God; as God saith: I will dwell in them, and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. [17] Wherefore, Go out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing: [18] And I will receive you; and I will be a Father to you; and you shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” -Doaui-Rheims Bible

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